In today’s Rumour Mill: “Irrelevant” Craig Whyte would welcome Blue Knights bid and would walk away from club; Paul Murray accuses Whyte of refusing to deal with Blue Knights, plus all the latest Rangers takeover news; a raft of Celtic players set to leave this summer; plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
THE man who Rangers administrators once called “irrelevant” to the sale of the club now seems more pivotal than ever - comments by erstwhile owner Craig Whyte, reported in the Herald, suggest that he remains very much in the picture at Ibrox as the three remaining bidders prepare for tomorrow’s deadline.
The Herald reports that Craig Whyte would not be against selling the club to the Blue Knights consortium, though Whyte admits that he and Paul Murray, head of the consortium, don’t see “eye to eye”. Whyte added that he would be willing to walk away from the club despite having £30m of his own money tied up in cash and guarantees.
Also reported in the Herald is confirmation that Murray has agreed a deal with Ticketus that would see them included in the consortium; the Herald adds that Club 9 Sports, who it is believed would see liquidation as a viable option for Rangers should their bid be successful, are the highest bidders so far.
Meanwhile, the Sun reports comments from Murray claiming that Whyte is blocking the Blue Knights bid. Of Whyte, Murray said: “I actually find the guy’s behaviour to be staggering. After everything that’s happened, I can’t believe he’s effectively blocking me from trying to do the right thing for the club...he’s still refusing to sell his shares to me.”
More bad press for Club 9 Sports in today’s Sun, with another disgruntled chairman from England voicing his disapproval. Tranmere Rovers chairman Peter Johnson was contacted by the American-based group last January about a takeover deal, but pulled out after reports from America suggested that some members of the sports group had been indicted on fraud charges. More bizarrely, Johnson said that Club 9 Sports had put Tranmere Rovers up for sale - on eBay. It follows reports yesterday of former Sheffield Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford encountering similarly dubious practices by the American group.
The Daily Record have a few tidbits of their own to share on the Rangers takeover deal, reporting that Murray’s aforementioned deal with Ticketus will reduce Rangers’ total debt by £17m should the Blue Knights succeed in their bid to take the reins at Ibrox. The Record also report that a recently published business survey suggests that three Scottish clubs are at serious risk of following Rangers into administration.
Today’s big transfer stories concern up to three possibly outgoing Celtic players. Glen Loovens and Daniel Majstorovic, both out of contract at the end of this season, are rumoured to be considering departures, according to the Daily Express. Elsewhere, the Sun say that striker Pawel Brozek will likely return to Turkish parent club Trabzonspor after making just two substitute appearances since January for Celtic. The Express reports that Morten Rasmussen, another Celtic striker who has seen little playing time, was due for a move to Norwegian side Aalesund, but is staying put at Parkhead after claims from Aalesund president Bjanrne Haagensen that his agent fudged the move.
Haagensen said: “We had agreed the move with Celtic for a reasonable transfer fee. But then along came his agent and destroyed the move. It’s very frustrating.”
The Express also reports interest for Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield, whose contract situation is being monitored by Hibs. The Express adds that St Johnstone’s Alan Mannus is being considered for a spot between the sticks at Easter Road.
• In other news, Ki Sung Yueng looks likely to miss Celtic’s Champions League qualifying matches after a FIFA ruling that stipulates players must be free to compete in the Olympic games. (Express)
• Montrose and Berwick Rangers have shown interest in signing 30-year-old Formartine United goalkeeper Derek Soutar, formerly of Dundee and Aberdeen. (Express)
• Falkirk have offered a 12-month extension to Darren Dods after the veteran defender’s winning goal in Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup final. (Sun)
• St Mirren director Ken McGeoch is being forced out of the club by unhappy co-directors after claims that he and business partner Paul Davies disclosed sensitive documents belonging to St Mirren to Rangers company secretary Gary Withey. The club have called an extraordinary general meeting for May 3. (Express)